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Santos-Monterrey in 'northern' final
by Mike Woitalla, December 1st, 2010 5:48PM

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[MEXICO] Northern clubs Santos Laguna of Torreon and Monterrey will vie for the Apertura 2010 title in a two-leg final, the first leg of which is on Thursday (Telefutura, 9 pm ET). For five things you should know about the Mexican final ...

* The season’s top two scorers face off in the final. Santos’ Christian Benitez, who played for Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup, has scored 14 goals this season. The 24-year-old has scored 15 goals in 33 appearances for Ecuador. … Monterrey’s Humberto Suazo, 29, has struck 11 times this season. The Chilean was the leading scorer in South American qualifying play for the 2010 World Cup with 10 goals but was injured before the tournament and played sparingly. He spent last season on loan with Spain’s Real Zaragoza and helped it avoid relegation with six goals in 17 games.

* Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich has won four Mexican first division titles with four different clubs: Monterrey (2009), Pachuca (2003), Tecos (1994), Leon (1992). Two months ago Vucetich turned down the Mexican national team coaching job for personal reasons. … Santos coach Ruben Romano, an Argentine who finished his playing career in Mexico, has coached at nine Mexican teams without winning a title. He finished runner-up three times.

* Last season (Bicentenario 2010) Santos finished runner-up with a penalty-kick loss to Toluca in the final. The season before that, Monterrey lifted the Apertura 2009 title for its third crown in club history and second this decade. … Santos has also won three titles (Invierno 1996, Verano 2001, Clausura 2008).

* Santos’ 37-year-old goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez was a part of three World Cup squads and started all four games for Mexico in Germany 2006.

* Panamanian Felipe Baloy, Santos' backline leader, is suspended for the first leg after picking up two yellows in the semifinal second leg.

(The second leg is on Sunday: 6:55 pm ET on Telemundo).



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